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Dindi is kidnapped to be the bride of a shark... To escape she must untangle a terrible curse caused by a love and magic gone wrong.
This stand-alone novella is set in Faearth, the world of The Unfinished Song. Available here ONLY.
The Unfinished Song - This Young Adult Epic Fantasy series has sold over 70,000 copies and has 1,072 Five Star Ratings on Goodreads.
Another amazing series from one of my favorite authors of all time, this time centering around a strange girl from the wild who has a talent with animals. Daine manages to get a job in the stables of the same royal palace that Kinght Alanna trained and serves at. But she has a terrible secret. Daine’s unique way with animals is the reason she had to flee her home in the mountains, and it’s far too powerful to keep hidden from the new friends she makes in the Kingdom of Tortall. Luckily, Tortall is far more accepting than Daine’s old home, and she soon finds that her strange powers fit in with a wizard who turns himself into a bird, a thief made into a lord, and a woman knight under the protection of the Goddess.
However, as kind as the people she meets are, Daine still remembers how the villagers from her home killed her mother and set fire to her house, for fear of Daine’s abilities. Can she really trust her new friends? Or are they just using her, because her powers are becoming very useful with the kingdom overrun by Immortal creatures taking up residence all across the land and causing trouble?
This is another Tamora Pierce book I adore, and it even has many appearances of my most favorite Lady Knight. But Daine herself quickly won my heart over, even as different from the brave Alanna as she is. Daine has the gift of talking to animals–any animals, even immortal beings from the Realm of the Gods. If people weren’t terrible, she likely would have lived a peaceful, quiet life in solitude. But, because the villagers didn’t understand her magic, they claimed she and her mother were evil witches, and drove Daine out with fire. This event changed Daine, making her less trusting of strangers (human ones) and far more secretive and cautious than she was as a child. She eventually learns to trust again, and also to be proud of her power, rather than fearing how people will see her. Which is a good thing, because those Immortals running rampant everywhere? They aren’t just looking for mischief, they’re invading the mortal realms to set up homes of their own, and they don’t want to share with humans. So the Kingdom of Tortall, and all the Kingdoms of men, are in great need of any help they can get, and Daine’s power may be just enough to save them.
The Immortals series was one that I read and reread until the binding wore out, and now those tattered books sit in a treasured spot on my shelf. So give it a try and see if you’ll fall in love with Wild Magic too!
Alanna The First Adventure is the first in a series of the adventures about Alanna- the first woman knight of the realm of Tortall. But before she earns her knighthood, Alanna must disguise herself as a boy and go through years of training as a page and a squire, then pass the Ordeal of Knighthood and survive. As the daughter of a noble, Alanna would normally be out of luck, as everyone at court would know who she is. But fortunately, her father is a recluse, and while everyone knows the Lord of Treband has two children, the most anyone can remember about them is that they are twins, but not that one of them is a girl. Also fortunate, is that Alanna’s brother, Thom, would much rather be a great wizard than a knight. So, the twins switch places, disguising themselves as each other until Thom reaches the Daughters of the Goddess to train in magic, and Alanna (now calling herself Alan) reaches the Palace to train as a page.
Alanna faces a lot of hurdles on her course to become a knight. It’s bad enough she’s the smallest of the new pages and so gets more than her fair share of bullies, but she also has to keep the secret of who she really is from those few people who become her closets friends. Friends like the Crown Prince training a few years ahead of her, and the rugged leader of the capital’s thieves. But she can’t keep her secret forever, because while boys and girls look much alike as children, they start to change right around the ages of a Palace page. More terrible though, is the growing conspiracy to assassinate the Prince, and as one of his closest friends, Alanna finds herself in the line of fire.
I love a lot of Tamora Pierce’s books, and the Song of the Lioness saga is definitely one of my favorites. Alanna is fun, brave, determined, everything I wanted to be when I was a kid. She was an amazing heroine to grow up with, because as awesome as the first book is, the other three get even better.
Okay, time to tell you about one of my favorite books of all time. The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Peirce. This story is about a girl named Aeriel. She is the servant of a beautiful, rich maiden, Euduin, who is to be married. But just before the ceremony, Eoduin is kidnapped by the frightful darkangel, with fiercely beating black wings and pale dead skin. Aeriel’s masters blame her for their daughter’s loss, and everyone gives up all hope of ever saving poor Eoduin. Even Aeriel knows there is no chance her friend is still alive, for the icari, the vampyres can drink a maiden’s blood and soul before she has a chance to scream. So, instead, she vows to avenge her friend and kill the terrible vampyre so that no other maidens are taken and no other lives destroyed.
But when she meets the vampyre again, she is stunned by his beauty—his twelve midnight wings are resplendent and his face the fairest she has ever seen. She falls unconscious and is taken to the darkangel’s castle to be a servant to his wives. For thirteen years, the darkangel has kidnapped beautiful women and wed them, stealing their souls and drinking their blood on their wedding night. These hideous wraiths wail and scream so for the loss of their souls and beauty, that they must be attended so they stay quiet. Aeriel finds the newest wife is her own Eoduin.
Aeriel is forced to care for the wives of the darkangel, and feed his terrible gargoyles, and tell the darkangel stories whenever he grows bored. She learns to love the pitiful women who had so much stolen from them, and to pity the frightful gargoyels who she knows will rip her to pieces if she ever tries to escape, but who are so mistreated and frightened, she cannot help but see them as prisoners the same as herself. She even finds that she can pity the darkangel, for he is not yet a true vampyre, not ugly and twisted and thirsting for souls and blood. The wraiths tell her that he is collecting souls for his dreaded mother, the lorelei, who drank his blood years ago and made him what he is now. She will eat the souls he brings her, and then eat his own—turning him into a true vampyre, empty and forever hunting souls to fill that emptiness, just as his six older brother do across the world in far off lands. The wraiths tell Aeriel she must kill the darkangel before he collects his fourteenth bride and steals her soul, but Aeriel has begun to love him, for she finds him to be as pitiful as all the other tragic residents of the castle. Trapped and twisted by his mother, as surely as the wives were by him.
Can Aeriel bring herself to kill the darkangel before he ruins any more lives? Or will she find a way to save him?
The Darkangel is the first book in a trilogy of Aeriel’s adventures across the land of Avaric, where the plains are pale dust, the mountains low, and the blue-white moon Oceanus hangs always in the sky while the Solstar rises and sets a fortnight apart. I dearly love this book, I cannot do it much justice trying to explain how beautiful the settings are, how rich stories, nor how emotional I get when Aeriel speaks to the darkangel or weaves garments for the wraith wives. The following books, A Gathering of Gargoyels and The Pearl of the Soul of the World, are no less entrancing and together they are one of the best fantasy stories I have ever read. If you haven’t yet, I absolutely recommend you check them out—you won’t be disappointed!
I don’t know about the rest of you, but my favorite fantasy creatures throughout my life are—without question—dragons! I know I’m supposed to like mermaids or unicorns more, and I do like them (I certainly love unicorns as much as it is humanly possible to love anything you’ve never really met) but they cannot compare to dragons. How can they? Dragons can be large or small, they can fly or swim, they can breathe fire or ice, they come in every imaginable color. They can be soft and silky, or sharp and iron-hard. Dragons can be made of rock, or steel, or clouds, or grass. They can live anywhere and eat almost everything, from sheep to diamonds. It all depends on what type of dragon you want, and it will be.
So, to share my love of dragons, I’m going to list my top five favorite dragon books—and the amazing dragons in them!Continue reading
One of my favorite fantasy creatures as a teenager was vampires—they were cool, had nice clothes, did whatever they wanted, and stayed up as late as they wanted. Okay, so they could only really stay up at night—I was young and silly, and easily pleased, staying up at night was one of the best super powers a character could have in my opinion. In any case, this love of vampires meant I collected a lot of books about vampires. Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, Laurell K. Hamilton, Hideyuki Kikuchi… there wasn’t actually a lot, was there? At least compared to now, where vampires are all over the place. Man, was I born in the wrong decade.
Anyway! One particular vampire book really caught me for a few years, because it was so different from all the other vampire books of the time. If you know any of the above authors, you’ll know their stories are all about adults and vampires. There just wasn’t a lot of teen fiction involving vampires back then—except for one. Silver Kiss by A. C. Klause. Now this book was intense! Not only was it about a teenager and vampire, it was also a romance! And a tragedy… Yeah. Back then, I’m pretty sure adults were trying to convince all the youngsters that vampires were too dangerous for anyone but an adult, because almost every teen-vampire book I found basically replayed the end of Romeo and Juliet. Silver Kiss wasn’t any different, but something about the heartfelt emotion of the characters made the bittersweet ending more bearable.
The book starts out with Zoe, our protagonist. She is a young teen whose mother is dying in the hospital, leaving her father with no time for her since he’s always by his wife’s side. Her best friend doesn’t have any time for her either, because she has no idea how to deal with death and is more concerned about her family moving to another state. Zoe can’t even visit her mother because the doctors say she “exhausts” her mother too much. She’s alone. So, she stops sleeping, forgets to eat most of the time, and wanders around the park at night when the house gets too quiet to bare. It is on these walks in the dark that she encounters Simon.
Simon, as you may have guessed, is a centuries old vampire. He spends his nights eating rats, and stalking another vampire, who both turned him and murdered his mother many years ago. By day, he rests in a large suitcase filled with the dirt of his birthplace, hidden in an abandoned building. Simon finds himself curious about the girl who walks around the park in the middle of the night, and soon discovers she is as alone as he is. The ever closer approach of her own mother’s death becomes another similarity he feels between them.
As they meet more often, Zoe and Simon find a kindred spirit in each other, as well as a willing listener to their pain. They give each other solace and understanding as they learn from each other how to face the loss of death in their lives. For Zoe, she learns how to mourn with Simon, when everyone else leaves her alone. For Simon, he learns to accept the demise of his family, and himself, comforted by the fact that Zoe will not leave him alone. They grow close because of their similar pain, but discover that staying by each others side, they can sooth that pain enough that life is still worth living.
I’m not ashamed to admit that this book made me cry the first time I read it, and maybe I teared up when I read it again to refresh my memory. It’s a dark love story, and the only happy ending is in the characters’ own belief that life is precious, death isn’t the end, and the knowledge that even when people leave you, you aren’t alone. It’s a pretty heavy message for a teen vampire book to give, but it does so beautifully and it certainly reached me. I know there’s tons of vampire books to check out now, but I definitely recommend The Silver Kiss as a must read for any vampire fan!
Lara here, and I’d like to share a book many of you have probably never heard of. A boy goes to wizard school where doors change based on the day of the week and portraits talk, he makes some friends, and attends magic classes. Then he finds out there’s an evil wizard threatening the school and everyone in it. But he and his friends are able to defeat the evil wizard and save the school.
Still never heard of it? Are you sure?
It’s a short book called Wizard’s Hall by Jane Yolen. It was first published in 1991 and is about a boy named Henry who lives with his hard working mother and one cow. When he mentions off-handly wanting to maybe be a wizard, his mother joyfully sends him off to Wizard’s Hall, the closest school for aspiring wizards and witches. Once there, a blind wizard and a fuzzy white rodent rename him Thornmallow, because he’s “prickly on the outside, squishy within.” Although that squishy part is taken on faith.
In the school itself, Thornmallow learns to fall asleep to a star filled ceiling that recites the names of glowing constellations, and to always walk left down hallways to get to class on time. His friends help him remember the various rules of Wizard’s Hall and how to change his soup from lizard to beef. (Not that this makes it taste any less brown.)
Unfortunately, Thornmallow is finding himself woefully bad at Spelling and Curses and Chanting, and his Transformations best go unmentioned. But just when he thinks it might be best to give up and go home, he overhears the teachers discussing the terrible Master, coming the very next night to destroy the school and swallow every last person inside his frightful quilted Beast. There is some hope though, because so long as the school has one hundred and thirteen students, they have some hope of defeating the Master, and Thornmallow is that essential one-thirteen.
Wizard’s Hall is a short, but highly imaginative story with colorful descriptions and interesting characters. The magic is fun, wizards make spells through careful word choice and clear tones, and their results can be anything from subtle light effects, to an avalanche of snow, to people unraveling into shining thread. Thornmallow is a quiet boy, shy if a bit sharp tongued, but he means well. He may not have much talent for magic, but he tries.
This may be an older book, but it’s still a good read, and I definitely recommend picking it up and giving it a go!